Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Memorial Plaza honoring women Religious to be dedicated Oct. 15 at Holy Cross Cemetery

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, the Inland Register

(From the Sept. 15, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)

A memorial plaza at Holy Cross Cemetery honors the contributions of communities of women Religious to the Inland Northwest. The plaza will be dedicated Oct. 15. (IR graphic courtesy of Holy Cross Cemetery)

The afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 15, granite and water will come together to create a lasting memorial to women whose ministry has had a lasting impact on the life of the Church in the Inland Northwest.

At 1 p.m., Bishop Cupich will celebrate Mass and bless the newly-completed Sisters’ Memorial Plaza at Holy Cross Cemetery – part shrine, part monument – dedicated to honoring the contributions of communities of women Religious.

Jim Falkner, since 2008 the executive director of the Catholic Cemeteries of Spokane, said the Sisters’ significant presence in the Inland Northwest calls for a memorial in a spot where “people stop and visit and remember.”

In one sense, the genesis of the idea dates back about 18 months. At that time the Holy Names Sisters had contacted Falkner about buying additional graves. He did an inventory for them, and came to realize how appropriate it would be for Holy Cross to be the site of some sort of observance honoring the Sisters and their contributions to the diocese.

Part of it dates back much further, however. Before coming to direct the cemeteries, Falkner had served the Spokane Dominican Sisters for 27 years, including 15 years as their treasurer and 12 as president of the Dominican Outreach Foundation. He also worked with the Holy Names sisters as part of their investment committee, helping them develop investment policy and guidelines.

His work with the Providence Sisters includes 30 years on their hospital board committees, and recently completed a three-year term as chairman of the board for Providence Health Care.

The memorial, he said, is the church’s opportunity to honor “the Sisters for their good works in this community, for a long time. This is our opportunity to remember them with a permanent memorial.”

The memorial itself is highly symbolic, using stone to speak of the Sisters’ long-term impact, and water to speak of their collaboration with the wider Church.

Representatives of Religious communities were part of the design process, said Falkner.

The first draft of the design process draft was by Oregon Memorial, a granite company near Portland, Ore. That initial draft was then refined by Ken Laxton of Environment West, Spokane. Overall construction is by Bill Bouton Construction.

The cemeteries broke ground in mid-June. Falkner anticipates the project will be completed by Oct. 1.

There will be two tiers to the memorial, with a flow of water dividing into three separate streams. Three large granite pieces will the members of the three communities who have the most Sisters buried at Holy Cross – Providence (255), Holy Names (240), and Dominican (67). Those stones will face the areas of the cemetery where the particular community’s Sisters are buried.

Other Religious communities will also be part of the stone memorial: Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia (8), Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (12), Sisters of the Good Shepherd (12), and the Poor Clares (9).

Besides the main memorial, individuals will have the opportunity to buy and donate paver bricks etched with the name of a specific Sister or ministry.

The memorial itself is being paid for by Holy Cross Cemetery, one of three Spokane Catholic cemeteries. (The others are St. Joseph in Spokane Valley and Queen of Peace, adjacent to Immaculate Heart Retreat Center.)

“The Sisters did not contribute financially to this,” said Falkner. This was not something they would do for themselves, he said.

(The Mass and blessing begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the mausoleum at Holy Cross Cemetery, 7200 N. Wall in Spokane. Bishop Cupich will celebrate the Mass and bless the memorial. Tours will be available from 2:30 p.m. on. The event is open to the public. For more information contact Holy Cross Cemetery: 467-5496.)


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